Watt Electric Vehicle Company (WEVC), a pioneer in the design, engineering and manufacture of low-to-medium volume electric vehicles (EVs), both under its own brand and for third parties, has revealed its game-changing light electric van at the Commercial Vehicle Show in the UK.
Designed for the production of up to 5,000 vehicles per annum, the innovative and highly flexible vehicle, codenamed WATT eCV1, enables a wide range of electric commercial vehicle designs, facilitating mission-specific models which meet customers’ particular fleet requirements.
Following the signing of an MoU between WEVC and electric commercial vehicle specialist, ETRUX, earlier this year, an engineering prototype is on display at the NEC, based on the WATT eCV1 3.5-tonne cab and chassis unit, complete with an ETRUX designed and built body. The next step is for WEVC’s electric vehicle platform technology will be adapted by ETRUX into a range of offerings for the commercial vehicle market.
The first of multiple commercial vehicle offerings to come from WEVC, the eCV1 uses the company’s breakthrough, proprietary PACES architecture, a sophisticated yet cost-effective modular electric vehicle platform. Developed to support commercial vehicle manufacturers, specialist vehicle converters and fleet operators in the transition to an electric future, PACES complies with ISO regulations and exceeds stringent European Small Series Type Approval safety standards.
Its ’cell-to-chassis’ system means batteries are integrated into the primary structure (rather than having a separate battery pack), optimising stiffness, minimising weight, and maximising payload.
As a result, the clean sheet design means the eCV1 has none of the structural, weight and packaging compromises inherent in most electric light commercial vehicle (LCV) designs, many of which have been converted from internal combustion engine (ICE) drivetrains and are further constrained by traditional high volume manufacturing processes.
The eCV1 features a central driving position which allows a safer kerbside exit for the operator, whichever side of the road the vehicle is driving or parked on. The cabin can be configured as a one-, two- or three-seater vehicle, with the large glass house providing superb visibility making the vehicle safer to drive and easier to manoeuvre and park.
A further benefit of the central driving position is that it has allowed the A-pillars to be repositioned inboard, thus reducing frontal area and drag, a key metric in designing an efficient electric commercial vehicle. The unique platform design creates generous full-standing height headroom, facilitating easy ingress and egress and a ‘walk through cabin’ option that is ideally suited for urban delivery vehicles.
Neil Yates, WEVC CEO, said: “I’m delighted to reveal the WATT eCV1 here at the CV Show. Our unique approach to addressing the challenges facing the industry will enable the transition to mission-specific, yet cost-effective electric light commercial vehicles.
“We have embraced circular economy principles in the design, manufacture, and operation of our commercial vehicles to specifically align with increasingly stringent corporate and fleet operator sustainability responsibilities.
“The industry is rapidly moving to a zero-emission future, working with WEVC and our eCV1 platform will allow customers to benefit from electrified commercial vehicles tailored to exactly meet their needs. Our MoU partner ETRUX has built a fantastic vehicle body onto one of the shortest lengths of chassis that we will offer to show how compact the vehicle can be.”
The WEVC eCV1 prototype has a curb-weight from just 1,750kg, delivering class-leading payload and range in the 3.5-tonne and 4.25-tonne segments. The CV Show will be the first chance to see the functional prototype, which will be continuing test and development activities directly after the event.ETRUX will be exhibiting the WEVC eCV1 on stand 5D88, at the commercial vehicle show at the Birmingham NEC from 18-20 April.